Hypnobirthing and you - what you need to know.
What is hypnobirthing all about, I hear you ask.
The Royals are doing it, the celebs are doing it and you’ve probably heard someone from down the street or a family friend giving it go and swearing by it. But what does it really involve, and what’s this hypnosis thing all about? Well I’m here to answer those questions and a few more that might be lingering in your mind and maybe holding you back from committing to a course and having your own positive birth experience.
Is hypnobirthing just for natural birth?
Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that I’m a Hypnobirthing Australia™ practitioner and I teach the Hypnobirthing Australia™ course, which differs from other hynobirthing programs. Our course is about providing birthing couples with a childbirth education course that is evidence based, as well as preparing you and your partner to calmly meet whatever turn your birthing takes. It is NOT natural or nothing! We are about empowering you, as the birthing mum, as well as your birth partner to make informed decisions that are going to be right for you and your baby. Knowledge is power!
What happens if I require medical intervention?
Now don’t get me wrong, even though we prepare you for whatever turn your birthing takes, we have a lot of mums that end up birthing naturally, but… does that mean you are a failure if you need medical intervention? Absolutely NOT! Birth is unpredictable and the Hypnobirthing Australia™ course gives you the knowledge and skills to navigate through special circumstances to have a positive birthing experience regardless of the situation… and why is this?
1. You and your partner are making informed decisions based on knowledge and not fear
2. You are consenting to procedures because it is YOUR choice, as opposed to having interventions needlessly imposed on you
3. You are putting yourself in the driver’s seat of your birthing
4. You are in control of your birthing and this reduces negative feelings about your experience
5. And I’ll say it again – Knowledge is Power!
What happens if I need to have a Caesarean?
The techniques and tools that we teach in the Hypnobirthing Australia™ course also apply if you’re are having a caesarean. You use these same tools in any scenario, because when you are calm and relaxed you are giving yourself the best chance of making decisions based on knowledge rather than fear.
How can we reduce labour pain?
When your body is relaxed, tension is reduced, pain is also reduced, which is based on a theory and term known as the ‘fear-tension-pain syndrome’, coined my Dr Grantly Dick Read, an obstetrician in the 1900’s who wrote the book, “Childbirth Without Fear”. His theories and teachings form the basis of the hypnobirthing philosophy.
How does it work?
The ‘Fear, Tension, Pain’ Syndrome means, when you experience fear, whether real or perceived, our sympathetic nervous system kicks in and we release catecholamines and this triggers the Fight, Flight, Freese, Appease response. When this happens, blood is redirected to your defence systems in the preparation to fight off or run from a threat. Unfortunately, our uterus is not part of the defence system, therefore blood and oxygen move away from our uterus, and our birthing muscles and arteries within the uterus constrict as they are oxygen deprived, which creates pain.
To reduce pain, you have to reduce tension and to reduce tension you need to reduce the fear and that is where hypnosis comes into play…
What is the hypnosis part of hypnobirthing all about?
Firstly, it’s best to address the idea of hypnosis in general, because I can assure you that you won’t be clucking around the room like a chicken out of control and unaware of your actions, similar to what you see in a stage hypnosis. This can be a fear for some people after watching this sort of entertainment, that they will also not be in control of their body and therefore be letting someone else take control of them. This is essentially what happens when you go into your labour uninformed and have no choice other than hand your power over to your care providers.
You’ll be surprised how often you’re in a hypnosis-like state
Hypnosis is a normal state of mind and simply means having a concentration on one idea with the exclusion of all other thoughts and being more responsive to suggestion. In fact, a lot of us are in a hypnosis-like state many times throughout the day… when watching a movie, reading a book and even when driving home after work and then suddenly realising you can’t recall every turn or stop you made on the way, because you were on autopilot and thinking about something else at the time.
It’s SELF hypnosis, no one is controlling you
Let’s clarify it’s SELF hypnosis and you are in control of how deeply relaxed you become in your labour. It really is as simple as that! Hypnosis in hypnobirthing is basically just deep relaxation and being focused, staying calm and in the zone, and you control that all the way. It’s also about surrounding yourself with positive thoughts to eliminate fear, which we know is detrimental to your birthing. You will probably find, as most couples do, that you will want to stay in this wonderful state of relaxation for as long as you need to and as I mentioned, you are working together as a couple. It is your chosen birth partner helping you stay relaxed and focused using the tools that we work on in class, so your body can do what it is designed to do.
Now you know what hypnobirthing involves and how it physically assists your body to work more efficiently and then can alleviate labour pains and in turn give you a more comfortable birthing experience. All of the knowledge about how our body works, matched with the knowledge about medical procedures and interventions can arm you and your partner with the power to have the necessary conversations with your care givers to ensure you have a positive experience regardless of whatever turn our birthing takes. This is why everyone is getting on the hypnobirthing bandwagon and specifically raving about the Hypnobirthing Australia™ course.
I’m Kate and if you want to join me for the Hypnobirthing Australia™ course here on Gold Coast in Helensvale I would love to hear from you. Checkout my face-to-face classes here. Alternatively, if you’re unable to attend face-to-face classes, the Hypnobubs® online course is the next best thing, click here for more info. Looking forward to getting you started on this positive journey.
Kate Eakin is a certified Hypnobirthing Australia™ practitioner. She is trained in Childbirth Education and in the Basics of Hypnotherapy to teach skills in Self-hypnosis, Conditioning, Relaxation, Breathing and Visualisation to achieve positive birthing outcomes. Kate is also a 2 times hypnobirthing mum with her last birth being an accidental, unassisted, breech, homebirth.